Penguins ends season on high note; Covington, Bohannon and Rathan-Mayes earn awards

Youngstown State ended the season on the high note it needed as multiple guys win regular season awards. Now, it’s tourney time.

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In what can only be described as an up-and-down season, Youngstown State men’s basketball stumbled its way to a nearly .500 conference and a 14-11 season overall.

A lot of things seemed to go the wrong way for this team that in the end didn’t turn out too bad. With injuries to Darius Quisenberry for a good part of the year, it was tough sledding but good things still came of that.

Shemar Rathan-Mayes got onto the Horizon League freshman team in part due to that injury. Naz Bohannon proved that he has always been one of the best the league has to offer. Beyond that, the month of February was great for YSU. No better time to get right than in mid-to-late February.

AWARD SZN

I already touched in two of them a bit but I’ll expand on that for the full scope. Bohannon had a brilliant season and was rewarded with All-League Second Team. We at HoriZone Roundtable had him First Team (WHICH WAS THE RIGHT CHOICE, HORIZON LEAGUE). But anywho… he had a great year.

Bohannon

He led the Penguins with a career-best 16.7 points per game on 51.9 percent shooting, also his career best. Along with being the leading scorer, he tied for the lead with 8.2 rebounds but lost the total rebounding for the year to Michael Akuchie. He will need 11 rebounds in the postseason to reach 200 rebounds in every season in Youngstown and 26 to be the first to 1,000. In his season, he became the all-time leading rebounder in school history.

Covington

Garrett Covington yet again found himself on the All-Defensive team. It was the third consecutive time being on that team. Covington may never have been a major offense threat on the floor but he was always a threat to another teams offense. That’s why he was recruited four years ago. Jerrod Calhoun couldn’t have gotten this more right.

He had a career-high 11.8 points, career-high 50 percent shooting and a career-high 72.4 percent from the free throw line. He did average 1.3 steals and 4.5 rebounds which were also career highs. He got to 1,000 points in his career as well.

He became the first player in school history to be named to the Horizon League all-defensive team three times.

Rathan-Mayes

Rathan-Mayes joined teammates Darius Quisenberry and Naz Bohannon as the third YSU player since 2017-18 to be named to the All-Freshman Team. Rathan-Mayes averaged 10.5 points and 3.6 assists per game. He scored in double digits 13 times as he started 20 games. He averaged 1.3 steals, 10th in the league and was third by hitting 82.4 percent of his free throws.

The month of February

After going 4-7 in the month of January, the Penguins righted the ship in February. With sweeps of Robert Morris and Purdue Fort Wayne along with a split with IUPUI, YSU looked to be where it should’ve been all season long.

For the first time since January 2, Quisenberry played on February 6 against Robert Morris. His presence in the lineup was immediately felt. He averaged 16 points in the last seven games on just 31 percent shooting. The numbers aren’t elite but him just playing is enough. He also averaged 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.9 steals.

Michael Akuchie was also a major factor in this February stretch.

He averaged 11 points over the last seven games on 55 percent shooting and 42 percent from three-point range.

He also grabbed 10.3 rebounds and had nearly a block per game.

His contributions included a school-record 24 rebounds against Robert Morris on Jan. 6. He’s had his best season by far as a senior. Now the fun begins.

THE MARCH TO MARCH

YSU goes into the Horizon League tournament as the sixth seed. It earned that with a 9-11 record but the league based seeds based on a formula. That seed would’ve been true no matter what. The Penguins host 11-seed Illinois-Chicago (9-12, 6-10) on Feb. 25 at the Beeghly Center. The game will be on 570 WKBN and ESPN+. If the Penguins get the win, it could play at No. 3 Oakland or No. 4 Northern Kentucky depending on other results.

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